South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales Surf Forecast by Ben Matson (issued Friday 25th April)
Best Days: Later Mon/Tues (mainly Northern NSW): strong building south swell with light winds and sea breezes. Thurs: another south swell (smaller) with good winds.
Recap: Tiny waves Thurs morning, with a small building trade swell in the a’noon and today in SE Qld. Right now there seems to be some 2ft+ sets visible on the Moffats surfcam (inline with predictions), with marginally smaller surf on the Goldy (1.5-2ft) and smaller surf with increasing southerly latitude down the NSW coast. Small surf across much of Northern NSW this week.
This weekend (Apr 26-27)
We’re looking at mainly small surf across the SE Qld region this weekend. The existing trade swell should hold in at a similar size on Saturday morning as it is now, before falling away slowly through the afternoon and into Sunday. Keep your expectations low.
Elsewhere, a short range south swell is slowly making its way north along the Northern NSW coast and will show up best at south swell magnets early on Saturday morning, before easing through the middle of the day and into the afternoon. No great size is expected (maybe the odd 2-3ft set at south facing beaches in NSW at dawn, 1-2ft at south facing beaches in SE Qld with a slightly later peak in size around midday) and winds will be best early before the sea breeze. So aim for for the dawn patrol for the best waves.
Sunday will see small residual swells from both the south and east, with freshening SW tending S’ly winds as a change sweeps up the coast. This change will whip up a low quality windswell for the afternoon (at south facing beaches, mainly in Northern NSW) but it’ll be choppy with the accompanying S’ly winds, and protected locations will remain tiny due to the swell direction and low period.
Next week (Apr 28-April 2)
No major changes to the forecast for early next week, as discussed on Wednesday’s notes. But again, first up - we’re still not expecting any great swell from the eastern quadrant in the forecast period.
The trades south of New Caledonia will weaken over the weekend, and apart from a local ridge across the SE Qld region (whipping up a short range S/SE swell on Monday, 1-2ft at most SE Qld beaches and maybe 2-3ft+ at south facing beaches, very little affecting Northern NSW) we’re not looking at much energy from this sector.
In Wednesday’s notes, I also mentioned a broadening high pressure system east of New Zealand that might strengthen the ridge between it and a developing trough of low pressure in and around the eastern Fijian region, however the head of the fetch looks like it’ll remain east of Fijian longitudes and in actual fact slide slowly back into the South Pacific throughout the forecast period. Not very good for East Coast swell prospects (but potentially OK for New Zealand as the associated trough deepens!).
So that means we have to focus our attention to the south. And although this swell window doesn’t necessarily hold much promise for SE Qld, it’s worth planning a road trip south of the border.
Sunday’s southerly change will be linked to a deep, intense low pressure system just to the S/SE of Tasmania on Saturday. This looks like it’ll be quite a beast of a weather system, initially located right on the western periphery of our acute south swell window; but the good news is that there’s a general agreement between the models for a N/NE track up into the southern Tasman Sea through the weekend.
We’re looking at two phases of groundswell from this system - an initial pulse of small long range southerly swell throughout Monday afternoon in Northern NSW, ahead of a bigger, stronger pulse early Tuesday morning.
I’m not super confident on the timing right now, but the overall trend should be upwards all day Monday - reaching 4ft or thereabouts by the late afternoon at south facing beaches in Northern NSW, ahead of a bigger groundswell for Tuesday in the 6ft range at south facing beaches.
Obviously, locations not completely open to the south will be considerably smaller, especially across SE Qld - although south facing beaches north of the border should do well on Tuesday with maybe some 3ft+ sets if we’re lucky - just don’t expect much at most beaches or across the points.
Even better are the local winds, which look like they’ll be light SW tending SE on Monday, and then variable tending NE on Tuesday. So it should be easy to sniff out some solid waves across the Northern NSW region on Tuesday.
Rapidly easing swells and NW winds are then expected Wednesday which should do well for the beach breaks in Northern NSW.
Looking further beyond this and another classic winter front/low is expected to cross the Tasmanian region later Tuesday and into Wednesday, which should deliver a short range increase in punchy south swell for Thursday (say, 3ft to maybe 4ft south facing beaches?) in Northern NSW.
Longer term (April 3 onwards)
Looking further ahead, and it seems we’ve got a steady supply of these winteresque front/low combos across the Tasmanian region for the foreseeable future. We’re on track for a similar round of south swell for Saturday afternoon/Sunday, and there are more systems backing up behind that too for the start of the following week. So, get familiar with your friendly south swell magnet in Northern NSW as it’s going to get a good workout over the next couple of weeks.
Perfectly clean all day two to three foot beachbreak on the weekend gets a 3/10....the day of the year with ruler edged 6-8ft surf gets a 7.
Now pure onshore junk gets a 4.
This Ballina report rating continues to confound. Either the guy doesn't surf or he's got zero knowledge of how this coastline works.
BOM looking impressive for sat sun mon......freeride ?
Interesting that bellemere weather long range chart isn't showing same as BOM.
well, it's only one model. there are others.
Latest GFS and EC looking tasty!!! But given model reliability of late I'm not counting my chickens just yet.
Geezus 00z GFS run looks fecking woeful!!! 00z EC run looks a lot better but it is delaying the swell until Monday so that's not a good sign (may well be just playing catch up to the 00z GFS run).
Don, we've just created a new Forecast Notes section (tabbed off the surf report pages) - this thread is best discussed there.
Thanks Ben. I wondered why I couldn't post in any other thread.